6 tips to deter thieves that every traveller should follow

November 14, 2014

Holiday horror: suddenly your wallet is missing! To keep sticky fingers off your stuff, here are six tips to deter thieves that every traveller should follow.

6 tips to deter thieves that every traveller should follow

Travelling is often a glorious experience filled with adventure, memories and good times. Unless of course, you get robbed. Then it can be filled with panicked phone calls, filling out forms and frantic trips to banks and government offices. Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting pick-pocketed when travelling.

Prepare for the worst

No one wants to leave the hotel assuming they’re going to get robbed, but a little foresight can make theft less painful.

That's why, before you leave for your trip, you should:

  • Make photocopies of important documents such as passports, car rental information, flight itineraries and prescriptions. Email yourself a copy so you can retrieve it from any Internet cafe. Or keep a printed copy in your suitcase or with friends.
  • Get travel insurance to cover any lost items such as cameras, phones and computers. Take pictures of the items along with any applicable serial numbers.
  • Bring extra passport photos. If your passport gets stolen, you won’t have to search for a proper photo place in a strange city.
  • Keep your luggage modest. If you look like a poor traveller, you’re less of a target than a rich-looking tourist with expensive bags in tow.

Six tips to reduce your risk of getting robbed

Now that you’re on your journey, there are a few easy ways you can make yourself less of a target for sticky fingers when you travel.

1. Wear a moneybelt

These things are horribly unfashionable, but keeping your cash, cards and passport close to your belly and under your shirt makes your valuables safer.

  • Keep a few dollars in your pocket for small purchases so you don’t have to reveal the pouch and show what you have, which could lead to a more serious mugging.

2. Buy a pickpocket-proof backpack

Many outdoor/travel stores have bags and backpacks with material that is nearly impossible to slice open with a knife.

3. Be vigilant in crowds

Pickpockets are looking for people who have their noses in maps, guide books or phones.

  • Don’t get distracted by a kerfuffle or disturbance. These are often caused specifically to enable thieves to do their dirty work.

4. When eating, don’t leave phones, wallets or other valuables on the table

Even if you’re right there, they can be quickly snatched.

  • Keep purses and bags on your lap, not on the back of the chair or the ground.

5. When in public washrooms, don’t put your bag on the ground unless the walls of the stall go all the way down

Short doors can be handy if you need to have someone pass you toilet paper, but those same hands can grab your bag when your pants are down.

6. Use the buddy system when in airports or train stations

Tourists burdened down with luggage and distracted with directions are easy targets.

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